Jamaica has had a long reputation for being an adult playground. Romantic couples-only resorts cater to honeymooners while adult-only all-inclusives keep the party going all night long. But more and more travelers are tapping into the bountiful resources that Jamaica provides for excellent family vacations. Resorts are building family-friendly mega properties, and fun educational sightseeing tours are enriching for travelers of all ages. Walk with us through this amazing country and see it as you never have before.
Catch a Smile
You’re Jamaican escape begins the moment you touch foot on its soil. The Jamaican people are a spirited and welcoming nation. They are proud of their heritage, always looking to have a good time, and they are eager to share it all with you and your family. Even when you arrive in Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, the attendees in the arrivals wing are eager to answer any questions and point you in the right direction to send you off on your island adventure. Smiles are plentiful, and you’ll find they’re infectious, especially when you’re trying to keep up with Jamaicans on the dance floor. The Jamaican Tourism Board encourages visitors to interact with their citizens by providing a completely complimentary “Meet the People” program. Visitors are matched with locals based on similar interests, and spend the day getting to know them, their culture, and their way of life. What better way for young adventurers to experience Jamaica than playing soccer with local children, possibly creating a friend for life?
Related: 10 Foods You Can’t Miss in Jamaica
Soak Up the Sun on Eco-Adventures
In a world where technology is seems to be our sole obsession, Jamaica’s sunny shores, lush rainforests, and mountainous countryside offer an escape from the handheld computers permanently attached to our palms and give families the chance to create one-of-a-kind memories.
Dunn’s River Falls
Considered one of Jamaica’s National Treasures, and a major tourist attraction, it’s a series of cascading waterfalls that create a natural staircase. Groups hike up the rocks right through the flowing water to keep cool and refreshed during the climb.
The waters in this lagoon light up the night thanks to microorganisms called dinoflagellates that glow when disturbed. Glass-bottom boat tours offer awe-inspiring views of this phenomenon, and Luminous Lagoon is only one of four places in the world to witness it.
What’s better than feeling like a Caribbean cowboy? Ridding Horseback while learning about Jamaica’s history. You’ll ride past a 500-year old sugar factory, the Seville Great House, and through the hunting and gathering grounds of the Taino Indian tribe, who were native to the island until it was claimed by Spain. Afterwards, you and your new equine friend will cool off with a ride through waves.
This ecological theme park offers thrills through the rainforest such as canopy zip lining and a “bobsled” ride down the mountain, inspired by the country’s famous Olympic Team. (“Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Get on up, it’s bobsled time!” Cool Runnings)
The River Bumpkin Farm
If you haven’t already noticed, there is a pattern here for amazing outdoor activities, and River Bumpkin Farm offer’s some of the best. Float down Martha Brae River by tube or kayak, or explore this historic plantation by bike. Whatever eco-activity you prefer, this place will have the whole family getting back to nature.
Related: Discover Paradise In Jamaica
Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Yeah Mon!
Jamaica has three fantastic yet distinct resort areas. Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril all offer something different and unique. Thankfully, all areas of Jamaica are within driving distance so no matter where you choose to make base camp, you have the option of seeing all the wonderful parts of Jamaica on tours and excursions.
Montego Bay is the gateway for all Jamaican journeys due to the Sangster International Airport. Whether staying or going, all visitors get a glimpse of this bustling northern-coastal town. The main draw for staying in Montego Bay is the resorts close location, meaning you’ll get to the fun faster. It harbors history at the Rose Hall Great House, multiple shopping complexes, and, of course, beautiful beaches.
An hour and 45-minute ride from Montego Bay is the popular port town of Ocho Rios. A favorite stop for many cruise lines, this area is closest to some of Jamaica’s top attractions. The famous Dunn’s River Falls are a great way to experience nature and adventure. Zip lining and bobsledding are a popular pastime at Mystic Mountain, and horseback riding on the beach is a short distance away.
For the most picturesque beaches on the island, head to Negril. This is the home of Seven Mile Beach, which is, you guessed it, seven miles of powdery soft sand and clear calm waters. Located an hour and a half south of Montego Bay, this laid back area is less developed than the others, creating an authentic feel with plenty to do. This area is close to YS Falls, Appleton Estate, and the Black River, where you can take cruises and see the only crocodiles in Jamaica. Locals say they are so friendly you can swim with them but we’ll take their word for it.
Related: Immerse Yourself In Jamaican Culture
Feel Alright at these Family-Friendly Superstars
Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall
Only a quick 15-minute ride from the Montego Bay airport (complimentary transfers are provided by the resort), Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall is the perfect place for families looking for excellent amenities and non-stop fun. An all-inclusive with unlimited delicious dinning and premium drinks, this modern resort keeps everyone entertained with nightly shows, watersports, pool games, and dance lessons.
Moon Palace Jamaica Grande
Moon Palace is one of the newest resorts in Ocho Rios and Palace Resorts’ first venture outside of Mexico. This property is more than just a top-notch all-inclusive. They shower their guests in amazing benefits, the best of which are the resort credits. Guests receive up to $1500 in resort credits that they can use for spa treatments, golf, and excursions.
Beaches properties are known for being some of the best all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, and Beaches Negril is no exception. A brand born and bred in Jamaica, Beaches has taken the meaning of all-inclusive to a whole new level. In addition to great food, drinks, and entertainment, they offer more activities on property than beach volleyball and kayaking. Guests of all ages can enjoy motorized watersports, including scuba diving and snorkeling trips. They are also one of the few resorts in the Caribbean to offer a full-sized water park. There’s a Beaches in Ocho Rios as well, so take your pick!
Jamaica is no longer taboo for families looking for a safe, entertaining, and rewarding vacation. Friendly people, fantastic resorts, and boundless outdoor activities will have your family begging to return every year. Call one of our travel agents today for excellent deals on your family’s next Jamaican adventure!